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Who will be Club of the Year? England Golf Awards finalists announced

Who will be Club of the Year? England Golf Awards finalists announced

The winner will be announced in a virtual ceremony on the governing body's YouTube channel
 

What do the following clubs have in common?

A club that offered free coaching to all juniors and uses a wind turbine and solar panels for their range, another that built a new orange course for beginners and saw 32 new women members join in 2021, a third that partnered with the Stroke Association to run sessions and help local people discover golf as part of their rehab, and a 27-hole complex that grew membership by more than a third in a season while selling a club-branded honey from their own beehive where the profits go to charity.

Each of this quartet have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Club of the Year Category at the England Golf Awards.

Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club, in Cornwall, Clitheroe, in Lancashire, Hazel Grove, in Cheshire, and Weybrook Park, in Hampshire, will find out which has come out on top in a virtual ceremony, hosted by broadcaster and avid golfer Naga Munchetty on England Golf’s YouTube channel, on April 20.

Singer and presenter Fleur East will also have a roving role on the night as gongs are handed out in 11 categories.

The awards night shines a light on those individuals and organisations who have promoted a positive image of golf through their accomplishments or their selfless efforts to help others. 

A panel of 46 judges, made up of England Golf staff as well as industry and media figures, whittled down the potential winners from a longlist of nominations.

You can see the shortlisted clubs and individuals by visiting the England Golf Awards 2022 website.

But in the Club of the Year category, here’s why the four clubs are in with a shout of being named the country’s best:

Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club: The family-run club offered free coaching to all juniors and sparked growth in membership from 187-350 in two years. A wind turbine provides energy and solar panels light up the range as the club tries to become carbon negative by 2026.

Clitheroe: Opened a PGA Golf Academy in 2021 and a new floodlit range. Adoption of the Women in Golf Charter saw 32 new women members join in 2021. A new orange course caters for beginners while eco bunkering, the addition of hedgehog shelters and bug hotels promoted environmental issues.

Hazel Grove: Became the 400th signatory in England to the Women in Golf Charter. The club partnered with the Stroke Association to run sessions and help local individuals discover golf as part of their rehab. All Saturday competitions are open to both men and women. A revised governance structure with a management board in place has set the club up for the future.

Weybrook Park: Completed a 27-hole complex expanding playing opportunities for members and visitors alike. Membership has grown by 34 per cent in a year. On the eco front, a skylark nest protection zone was introduced and a club beehive now produces the club’s own branded honey with profits from sale passed to charity.

Considering the overall list of nominees, Jeremy Tomlinson, England Golf chief executive, said: “It was a real privilege to read through so many amazing stories from groups and individuals who go that extra mile to make a difference to the game we all love.

“This is a chance to shine a light on those individuals, groups, counties and clubs who don’t seek publicity for the great work they do, but who deserve to be honoured and recognised.

“To read about such levels of passion, creativity and dedication being shown by so many from our golfing community is truly inspirational.

“I very much look forward to the ceremony and invite all golfers and supporters of the game to come online and join in with a celebration of all that’s good about the club and amateur scene in England.”

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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